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LETTER Federal anti-discrimination protection? Inevitable
2021-02-06

This article shared 630 times since Sat Feb 6, 2021
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=The astute can predict the future—with more than a modicum of confidence—by examining history. Nate Silver did this last year at fivethirtyeight.com, as did Vegas oddsmakers, in predicting the victory of President Joe Biden over der Trumpenfuhrer.

We can foresee celebrations coming soon for LGBTQ+ Americans. Rallies will welcome the passage of an Equality Act protecting against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity not only in employment but also in housing, education, finance and public accommodations (hotels, bars, etc.).

President Biden's administration has made this a priority for his first 100 days per White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (Washington Blade, 02/05/2021).

More importantly, Democrats have taken control of both houses of Congress.

Democrats last controlled the White House and both legislative houses in the 111th Congress (2009-11). LGBT rights then took three leaps forward. Congress repealed statutory support for the military's anti-gay discrimination (2010) and passed an inclusive federal hate crime law (2009). The Senate confirmed appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court of Sonia Sotomayor (2009), this nation's first Hispanic and Latina justice, and Elena Kagan (2010). Sotomayor and Kagan joined three other justices to declare the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional (2013 and 2015).

In 2019, every Democrat—but only eight Republicans—in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Equality Act.

Today, Democrats control both houses in 18 states' legislatures, and all 18 have pertinent nondiscrimination laws. Minnesota (1993) and Iowa (2007) enacted such laws when Democrats controlled their legislatures.

After Democrats won control of the governor's office and both legislative houses in Illinois, the Land of Lincoln (in 2005) became one of the first 15 states to pass basic protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

More recently, Virginia Democrats took control of that state's legislature, and fewer than six months later made their state the first in the South to enact a pro-LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination law, according to NBC News ("Virginia Democrats take control of state legislature for first time in over two decades," 11/05/2019; and "Virginia governor signs LGBTQ nondiscrimination into law," 4/13/2020).

This will nicely supplement SCOTUS's ruling on June 15, 2020 suitably during Pride month in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. By a six-to-three margin, the Roberts court—including Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch, author of the majority opinion—held that the 1964 Civil Rights Act's Title VII protects against anti-LGBT discrimination in employment. SCOTUS reasoned, "Just as sex is necessarily a but-for cause when an employer discriminates against homosexual or transgender employees, an employer who discriminates on these grounds inescapably intends to rely on sex in its decisionmaking."

With Democrats in control, our day in the sun as LGBTQ+ Americans is inevitable.

J. Eric Peters

Columbus, Ohio


This article shared 630 times since Sat Feb 6, 2021
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